Eight Restaurant (Langham Hotel, 83 Symonds Street, Ph: 09-300 2852) has revolutionized buffet dining, – they market themselves as a ‘culinary journey’, and what a journey it is.
The concept is that there are eight mini-kitchens within the restaurant. There is a choice of ready prepared and food cooked on the spot to your specifications at each station.
Great Ocean Road: Seafood and oyster bar. There is a wide variety of fish (fillets) which are cooked on demand. There are fresh oysters and cooked mussels to indulge in, and you may also find prawns and crabs.
Spice Route: Indian tandoori and curry kitchen. Naan (plain or garlic) is stretched and cooked in the tandoor to order. The butter chicken was perfectly seasoned, and totally unctuous.
Champs-Elysées: Fresh breads and pastries. I stayed away from the delicious looking pastries, but succumbed to the waffle-on-a-stick (which came with 6 sauce options) and a freshly made macaron.
Route 66: New York style grille. In addition to stews, risotto and baked vegetables, there is also chefs who will grill a selection of meats and vegetables to order. My order of Angus sirloin was grilled to medium-rare perfection.
Tōkaidō: Sushi and sashimi. This is my favourite station. Sushi are freshly made, and these are more adventurous than you usual California roll. Think soft-shell crab sushi, fresh tuna sushi and beautifully made fresh salmon sushi.
Dessert Road: Exquisite desserts and sweets. There was about 10 desserts to choose from, in addition to Movenpick ice-cream. But I felt the desserts were not to the same standard as the other stations. They looked ordinary.
Silk Road: Wok and dim sum corner. The dumplings and buns were fantastic, and I would have gone back for seconds if the other stations weren’t so tempting.
Garden Route: Succulent salad selections. There are three readymade salads, and a huge selection of salad ingredients, which are tossed and mixed to your requirements.
Dining at Eight Restaurant costs $37 for breakfast, $39 for lunch and $69 for dinner. Prices are higher during weekends and themed holidays. Bookings are required.